UPDATE: Recently, Yung sustained an injury while training and is working through a steady recovery. Please send positive thoughts his way as we all get on board and await for this talented artist to deliver more content in the future.
Yung Lee (aka GakAttack), a talented young man out of Canada, made a pursuit towards film and visual effects over two years ago and since then, he’s had a wide number of successes from Jedi Ninja’s, Potter Chan, Epic Anime Time to Ultimate Fan Fights. Jason Wright, from New Loyalty Entertainment, had a chance to interview Lee to learn more about his past, future and the difficulties he’s encountered along the way.
Q) What’s been your greatest challenge or mistake in pursuing this new career?
A) Right now, I am aiming to sustain consistent viewership on my YouTube channel GakAttack. I am, for the most part, a one-man team currently, so I am having a hard time getting content out on a regular schedule. The real challenge is being able to come up with and execute unique, and entertaining videos that is reasonable to accomplish within 1-2 weeks…because I am a solo-act , it’s very difficult to get people together because I have no one I can consistently count on as people have their own things to do. Despite this, I am extremely fortunate to have have amazing friends, family, and even strangers that are willing to give up their time to support me. Without them, I would be no where and it’s something I remind myself everyday.
My biggest mistake would probably be losing focus on the GakAttack channel in 2012 and being generally inactive. I don’t regret the decision as I gained other experiences during that time, but it definitely made it more difficult to come back and get the same views that I used to. It’s the internet, if you don’t remind people who you are at least once a month, then they forget about you.
Q) How much of what you have done in life do you feel has led you to where you are now?
A) I’m not sure…(laughs). Everything kind of adds up looking back. I played a lot of video games growing up, and I was really into martial arts in my teenage years. I got rejected from film school, so I did my undergrad in Kinesiology. I guess it helped as I was able to stay healthy and fit after all these years. I once aspired to be a professional MMA fighter for a year and it helped me realize how durable the body really is. So in that aspect, learning stuff like Parkour or stunts didn’t scare me as much.
I think the turning point for me during a trip to New York. I was helping out my god-uncle Zang Toi prepare for Mercedes-Benz Fashion week in 2010. When I saw him in his meetings with all the stylists, I could feel the passion bleeding out of the room. It was incredible, that he looked forward to every single day of his life. He loved every single aspect of his work. It was then that I realized, this is what I want in my life. So I started discovering what I really enjoyed doing. I tried doing some short YouTube videos, and then I fell in love with my work.
Q) What has been your most rewarding fan experience thus far, as a result of your work?
A) I’ve had a few interesting encounters… The most rewarding one I think was when a disabled mother of 2 messaged me about what programs I used and where she could learn how to do videos like mine. Her reason was that her kids apparently loved my videos and she wanted to spend time with them by helping them shoot/edit their videos. Gak inspired family time!! That was really touching for me.
I always get caught off guard whenever I have fan encounters as I’ve never really seen myself as having “made it” on YouTube. It’s rather overwhelming! So I apologize to anyone who has bumped into me and thought I wasn’t very enthusiastic. In my head I’m just in disbelief that something like that is actually happening!
Future Mega Man App – The latest video from GakAttack.
Q) For someone out there who is interested in doing what you do, what words of advice would you give them?
A) Don’t give up. Stop thinking, and start DOING. That’s pretty much it… Because I almost didn’t upload my first viral video: Epic Anime Time! I had uploaded quite a bit of content within 5 months and nothing really caught on, I was pretty close to quitting. I thought the video was crap, the VFX looked cheap, and no one would watch it… until I showed it to my new friend at the time, Tom Antos, and he said it was great and he really encouraged me to finish the video. If I didn’t listen to his advice, I most likely would have quit the whole YouTube thing and I wouldn’t be here today.
Q) I’m sure a lot of people must wonder how much time this takes out of your daily life. Are you able to find some sort of balance in producing films, staying healthy, maintaining a social life, etc?
A) Well, in 2012, I had no life pretty much. I was really busy with the web series and training. I was fortunate enough to be working with some great people who kept me grounded and sane during the craziness. I’ve made a point this year to balance my life more… as I’ve realized work isn’t everything in life. If you’re not happy, then what’s the point right?
Q) From the actors you have worked with, what level of film experience brings the most value to the production?
A) I think working with actors that have an abundance of experience regardless if it’s for film/stage/TV have always brought a lot to the production. They can turn it on and off, and everything they do seems so effortless. Honestly, it’s the more you do it, the better you get.
Q) For a project like Jedi Ninjas or some of the Ultimate Fan Fights episodes, was the team insured in case of an injury? Or was it filmed guerrilla style?
A) For projects like UFF, you have to have to be insured.
Q) For many artists, one of our biggest struggles is to complete projects without an external deadline. Seeing as how you post content regularly, how are you able to stay on task to completion? What motivates you to keep pressing forward?
A) I struggle with this everyday whether it’s feature film work or my own work, it’s just the nature of the beast! Once you learn to accept it as part of the process it doesn’t really stress you out anymore. Stress never helps the problem. What motivates me to keep going? I’m not exactly sure, I guess I just have this drive that something must be done and that I must do it. It’s as simple as that. I have a very “do it well, or don’t do it at all” attitude when it comes to things like that.
Q) In a world without YouTube would there be GakAttack?
A) Probably not… I’m not sure where else I’d be. During my time of “discovering” what I wanted to do with my life, I was also studying for my LSATs as my older brother convinced me to take up law school. So perhaps I’d be in law school! Who knows…(laughs).
Q) I ask this question as I’m sure many of your closest followers would be curious. Were there insurmountable creative differences between yourself and other UFF team members or was it a personal decision to focus on projects independently?
A) Tough question! I didn’t realize that people were curious about this. I think it was a bit of both. I just wasn’t happy working on the project and realized I really missed working on my own projects. I never regret a single thing tho, it was an incredible experience working with such talented individuals, I’m proud of what we produced together and I learned a lot from it.
All in all, the focus for the GakAttack channel this year is to build a proper team and create a sustainable channel with consistent content. I also have a new perspective about content creation which hopefully viewers will notice:
Please the eyes,
Please the ears,
Blow the mind, and
Touch the heart.
I feel that if I can produce at least one project that can do all of this to an audience, then I can proudly say “I’ve made it“.
Clearly Lee shows a lot of poise in the work he produces and, he’s the real deal. Rarely do you run into artists whom are so personable. Keep an eye out for Yung Lee in the future. I think you’ll agree that he is on the rise. Please head over to the GakAttack channel and subscribe to receive future content!
NOTE: I, Jason Wright, want to personally thank Yung Lee for his proactive attitude and willingness to deliver this content to you.